Four fashion designers’ take on non-traditional yet equally stunning wedding gowns

GONE ARE THE DAYS WHEN A WOMAN MUST LOOK TRADITIONAL IN A WHITE BRIDAL GOWN ON HER WEDDING DAY. Nowadays, it is all about letting her true personality shine. Bianca Jagger in a YSL Le Smoking jacket; Jackie O in a Valentino mock turtleneck, bishop sleeves, and pleated skirt; and Dita von Teese in a purple Bird of Paradise ball gown by Vivienne Westwood were just some of the fashion icons who opted to do just that.

The post-modern woman, as she should, can choose to be a Princess Bride or a Rebel Bride. She can refer to iconic inspirations or she can go nonconformist and follow what her irreverent heart desires. After all, picking an outfit for the most important day in her life is as much a pragmatic consideration as it is an emotional decision.


“I love to create and make wedding dresses. There’s something so magical about the process. And to fulfil for the bride her dream wedding is a blessing,” says Ezra Santos, Dubai-based Filipino-born designer.


Red bridal couture gown, Ezra Santos

Picking an outfit for the most important day in a bride’s life is as much a pragmatic consideration as it is an emotional decision

A lot of brides from all over the world go to Dubai for their dream wedding gown. Couture, of course. “Here, it’s a very big event for the family, and it is in their custom that the bride has to shine. It’s only in Dubai that you will find a beautifully-crafted and embroidered, crystal-embellished wedding dress. Our embroidery here is more intricate, and more reasonable in price compared to Paris or any other fashion capital,” Santos shares.


Ezra Santos

For his bridal collection called Definiendo el Amor (Defining Love), Santos takes inspiration from Antoni Gaudí, the Catalan architect and designer, by creating silhouettes, elements, and embellishments that he deems are “organic, anarchic and geometric forms of nature”. The colour palette is a gradation from natural to champagne to black, and ending in red.

“The millennial brides prefer to go for the unconventional colour for their wedding dresses; they love new ideas and like to be different,” Santos explains. “Non-white gowns, a very non-traditional colour choice, enhance a bride’s skin tone and create a beautiful effect on the white beadworks on the dress. They’re more dramatic and unusual.”


Tiffany & Co. is synonymous with unforgettable — if traditional — wedding related moments. But when Reem Acra unveiled her Spring 2018 Bridal collection at the jeweller’s New York store, the gowns were far from conventional.


Spring-Summer 2018 collection, REEM ACRA

Today’s bride can refer to iconic inspirations, or she can go nonconformist and follow what her irreverent heart desires

She sent down a dozen dazzling gowns in black and numerous more with black details, the better to offset the diamonds dripping from the model’s necks. The inspiration, the Beirut-bred, New York-based designer has said, is the Tiffany Yellow Diamond.

The diamond, mined in South Africa in 1878, is one of the largest of its kind. Would-be Acra brides would love to know that the diamond necklace was only worn twice — the last woman being Audrey Hepburn in the iconic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


Reem Acra

Beloved for her innovative, detailed, and meticulously-crafted pieces with ornate beadings, flawless embroidery and layered textures, Acra’s unorthodox collection wouldn’t surprise her red-carpet clientele, such as Chinese style icons Fan Bingbing and Li Bing Bing, and her celebrity brides LeAnne Rimes and Jennie Garth. For Jenna Dewan’s wedding to Channing Tatum, Acra created a frothy peach and ivory dress.


With fans ranging from film legends like Jane Fonda, supermodels Adriana Lima, and global icons such as Michelle Obama and Queen Noor of Jordan, Naeem Khan’s ready-to-wear aesthetic is a clear favourite among fashion’s most-followed women.


Fall 2018 collection, Naeem Khan

Nowadays, brides are all about letting their true personalities shine

When he launched his bridal collection in 2013, women have been drawn to his unique design philosophy, which deftly blends the sublime restraint he honed as an apprentice to Halston and the immense command of textile knowledge he gained from his family’s work as clothing providers to their native India’s royals.


Naeem Khan

For Fall 2018, the-now New York-practicing Khan unveiled dresses for the adventurous bride. The coveted pieces feature asymmetric necklines, a voluminous skirt of five layers of raffia, a retro-nodding sequin, embroidered tulle jumpsuit with a plunging neckline so outré it would be a fresh option for Naeem Khan fan Jennifer Lopez to wear should she get married again, and pink floral appliqués that Katy Perry could rock if she should commit to Orlando Bloom.


They fancy themselves as “fashion artists” rather than “fashion designers,” and justifiably so. The Dutch duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren create museum-worthy avant-garde pieces for renegades such as Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevigny, and China Chow.


Mariage Spring-Summer 2019 collection, Victor & Rolf

Their bridal collection for Spring/Summer 2019 is just as surreal, lavish wearable works of art. Sure, they designed standard, typical, safe silhouettes such as the Lily Garden gown — light tulle gown with a plunging neckline, open back, long train — but with eye-catching 3D flowers strewn all throughout, and the Graphic Bow Back Fit and Flare gown — high neckline, band neck detail, low open back, but with their signature bow.


Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren

The rebel bride, however, will gravitate toward the gowns with the signature Viktor & Rolf techniques of slicing, cascading, and draping tulle. The collection also boasts of vintage references with trapeze and mini versions of the wedding dress. A statement-making choice for a tradition-averse bride can be the sculptural jumpsuit, a stunner with a draped bodice, wide pant legs with graphic pleats and a signature wrapped bow for an unusual touch at the front.